Monday, August 19, 2019

Favorite Things: No Sugar No Grains

The hardest thing about any meal is figuring out what to make so here is a list of my favorite things to make.  Tried and true recipes we love to eat!

The Best Marinara and Meatballs - I have made this marinara in large quantities and then canned it for future use.  Or just make one batch to enjoy right now.  The meatballs are the bomb and can be frozen if you just pre-cook them without the sauce and cheese.

Peach BBQ Short Ribs - I made my own fresh peach bbq sauce (you can use fresh or frozen) to make this dish perfection!!

Cauliflower Taco Bowl - I don't eat it with the brown rice anymore but MR still does.  Do what works for you!

Thai Chicken Pizza- The thai chicken is great even without putting it on naan bread for pizza.  Great flavor!!

Incredible Oven Fajitas - What makes these incredible is how easy and fast they are!  I use frozen mixed peppers if I don't have fresh... still tastes fabulous!

Roasted Tri Tip with Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes - Roasting the meat over the vegetables makes them beyond delicious!

Looking for breakfast ideas? - Look no further!  I love each of these:  Egg Puff; Minute French Toast; Make Your Own Yogurt; Breakfast Crepes with Chia Berry Jam; Blueberry Lemon Puffed Omelet

We picked fresh peaches this week, So the short ribs are definitely going on the menu this week!

What are you eating today?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Meatballs and Cheesecake... of course!

Things have been going better for me on the clean eating front lately.  I don't know why, when we have all the tools and we know what works, we (me!) still manage to get off track.  But I've definitely been more intentional about what I put in my face for the last 6 months and it's really making a difference. I am amazed at how well I am sleeping and how much better I feel in general.  We hiked 7 miles one day last weekend and my hips weren't crabby at all!  In the past, my hips and sometimes my knees have been very clear on how they feel about me walking more than a couple miles.  And I attribute it all to better eating.  We did have one day where all  bets were off.  Baby Girl took us to dinner for Mother's Day at an Italian place that makes everything fresh in house, including their own pasta.  I don't eat any sugar or grains usually, but I made an exception.  I figured, if it isn't loaded with added junk then one meal wouldn't hurt me!  The food was outstanding and was my only real indulgence in all this time, so it's ok.  At least it was real and not over-processed!

So this week I brought out an old favorite... meatballs!  I love this recipe and it makes a lot so I always freeze some for another day.  I had canned a triple batch of marinara in the fall, so we paired that with meatballs.  MR eats grains so he had whole wheat penne.  I sautéed sweet potato ribbons for my "noodles."  You can use zoodles or whatever you prefer.  There are also links down below to some other recipes I've tried and love, including cheesecake and dark chocolate mug cake!  For sweetener, I prefer monk fruit.  A lot of what I am reading is saying that any sweetener will impact insulin levels and weight loss.  I don't doubt it, as I am not a doctor or scientist of any kind, and I also know that I can't eat treats every day.  They are called treats for a reason... it shouldn't be an every day occurrence.  But sometimes I just want chocolate, and for special occasions I like to have a special dessert that I can also have.  I sure don't make a whole cheesecake when it's just the two of us!

Before you get to the recipes, in case you've never read my blog before, you should know that I believe it's okay to use canned or frozen foods, as long as the ingredients are just real food.  Because while I want to eat healthy, I also have a life.  I work, I serve, I play! I don't have time right now to grow everything fresh myself. The ingredients on the crushed tomatoes I buy are: crushed tomatoes, sea salt, citric acid, basil leaf, and oregano.  Read the labels! Know what you're putting in your belly.

Let's see what's on the menu!

Mama's Marinara

2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
1 small chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed peppers, chopped
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1-2 TBSP Italian seasoning
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add chopped onion.  Saute until onion is tender.
Add crushed garlic.  Saute another minute or two.
Add mixed peppers.  Saute until tender.
Stir in red wine, if using.  (I highly recommend using it.  It adds a great depth of flavor!)
Ad crushed tomatoes.
Add Italian seasoning.
Stir and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer at least 30 minutes, but longer if possible.

Serve with Meatballs! for a winning combination.

More recipes I love:

Egg Roll Stir-Fry

Instant Pot barbacoa beef


Dark chocolate mug cake

What are you eating this week?  Whatever it is... Keep it Clean!

Dark chocolate mug cake

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Cheesecake does it again!

Dessert for Easter was cheesecake!  And not just any cheesecake, but a no sugar, no flour cheesecake.  Until I told them, no one knew it was a healthier version of a family favorite.  It's really not hard to make and is so worth it! I've posted this before but just had to share again because it is THAT good!

Classic Cheesecake with Wheatless Crust
(from Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD)

1-1/2 cups ground pecans
1/2 cup Sweetener, (I use monk fruit, you can sub any granulated sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

6 TBPS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

16 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Sweetener (I use monk fruit sweetener, you can sub any granulated sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup)
Dash of fine sea salt
3 large eggs
Juice of 1 small lemon and 1 TBSP grated lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F.
To make the crust, combine ground pecans, sweetener, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir in the melted butter, egg, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and 1-1/2 to 2 inches up the sides of a 10-inch pie pan.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sweetener, and salt in a bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat at low speed to blend.  Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed for 1 minute.

Pour the filling into the crust.  Bake until nearly firm in the center, about 50 minutes.  Cool the cheesecake on a rack.  Refrigerate to chill before serving.

Variations:  The filling can be modified in dozens of ways.  Try adding 1/2 cup cocoa powder and topping with shaved dark chocolate; or substitute lime juice and zest for the lemons; or top with berries, mint leaves, and whipped cream.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dark Chocolate Mug Cake - Gluten Free too!

Who doesn't love a good mug cake?  Easy and quick to make... you can satisfy your craving without making a whole big batch of cookies or an entire cake or pie.  We've been trying different options lately, and I think this one is a winner!  It's very chocolaty, so we were happy to share one between two of us.  A little bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would be the perfect complement!  Bonus, it's gluten-free!

Dark Chocolate Mug Cake

1 TBSP butter
1 egg
Scant 1/4 tsp vanilla
3 TBSP monk fruit sweetener (or other granulated sweetener)
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
About 6 dark chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe mug (about 20 seconds).  Crack and egg into a separate dish, whisk the vanilla into the egg.  Pour the egg mixture into the mug and whisk.
Add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips.  Whisk until well combined, scraping side as necessary.
Sprinkle top with chocolate chips.

Microwave on high about 75 to 90 seconds.  Test by inserting a toothpick into the center.

What are you eating today?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!

    Sunday, March 10, 2019

    Quick Cake For Two (Or Just You)!

    Lemon Sponge Cake for One (or Two)

    4 TBSP fine almond flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    2 TBSP heavy cream or half-and-half
    1 heaping TBSP coconut sugar (or preferred sweetener)
    1 egg
    2 TBSP lemon juice
    Small handful of dark chocolate chips, optional

    Grease the inside of a small dessert dish or ramekin with butter.
    Mix almond flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
    In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream (or half-and-half), the sweetener, and egg.  Slowly add lemon juice, whisking constantly.
    Stir liquid ingredients into dry.
    When well mixed, pour batter into prepared dish.  You will need to allow about 3/4" - 1" head room so don't fill to full.
    Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
    Remove from microwave and immediately scatter about half the chips on top of the cake (just stagger them around randomly).  Place a small plate on top of the bowl and flip it over.  Tap on the bottom and sides of the bowl and slowly lift it.  Scatter the rest of the chocolate chips on top and allow them to soften.
    Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate chips and drizzle them on the finished cake.
    Serves 1 or 2.

    The taste is much better than the picture!

      Friday, February 15, 2019

      Recipes Worth Noting!

      Sometimes I gather my recipe links on a blog page for the sole purpose of being able to quickly find them when it comes time to make supper.  This week was so full of wonderfully tasty recipes, though, I am sharing my menu - with links! - with you.  Enjoy!!

      SUN - Chicken caesar salad
      We had leftover chicken that I had grilled last week, so just chopped this up with some Romaine, added store bought Caesar dressing, a little freshly shredded Parmesan and pepper.  Voila!

      MON - I had a meeting which included a potluck. I made two-ingredient pot roast in the slow cooker (the recipe says you can also use Instant Pot) using 3 pounds of beef cubes and two 16 oz. jars of my marinara.  I received a lot of accolades... it was the bomb!!  (Pro tip:  I made a bunch of this marinara earlier in the season and canned it which is making my life even easier these days!)

      TUE - Thai Chicken is still a favorite.  You can serve it on naan for pizza, over rice or cauliflower fried rice.  I made the cauliflower fried rice recently and I can eat that stuff any time!  I used this recipe but admit that I tweaked just a little... used a whole egg instead of whites and skipped the scallions because I didn't have any!

      WED - Oh my!  Oh my!  Oh my!  Peach bbq short ribs in the slow cooker and an apple-cranberry salad was better than I could have even imagined.  Interestingly, I had it for lunch (more than once!) using warmed up leftover ribs to top leftover salad, and it was even better!  I made  peach bbq sauce (using frozen peaches) because I didn't have time to order... and because I can!  It seems like a lot of steps, but you can make the peach bbq sauce in advance.  And it's so worth it!

      THU - Who doesn't love grilled cheese and tomato soup?!  I used this fabulous tomato basil soup recipe and made a regular grilled cheese for MR.  I am not eating grains, so I experimented with using a frozen Trader Joe's cauliflower pizza crust for my bread.  I baked the crust on 350 for about 12 minutes on each side.  Then I cut it into 6 equal pieces.  I made it just like a regular grilled cheese, with the only difference being that my "bread" was cauliflower crust.  I haven't perfected it yet, but it definitely was better than tomato soup and NO grilled cheese!!

      BONUS!  I put one of the slices of cauliflower crust in the toaster this morning, then spread it with softened butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon-coconut sugar blend.  It was so good!!!!

      And just for the fun of it, I added the Vegan Chocolate Mousse recipe...

      Monday, January 28, 2019

      Carne Asada and Spanish Cauli Rice

      I've been getting more serious about my eating this winter. That means no sugar and no grains since Thanksgiving.  The only thing I've missed is brown rice occasionally.  Fortunately, cauliflower can fill that gap.  I made this carne asada recipe yesterday. (A little bit of honey won't hurt me!)  MR had nachos, but I skipped the chips and just made a rice bowl.  Lots of good flavor and not much effort.

      The original recipe calls for Instant Pot, but I think the meat would be more tender done in a slow cooker.  If time is of the essence, though, use the pressure cooker!

      Carne Asada Nachos

      2 TBSP lime juice
      TBSP orange juice
      TBSP apple cider vinegar
      2 TBSP honey
      1 tsp ground cumin
      1 or 2 small jalapeños, seeded and diced
      3 cloves garlic, minced
      1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or 4 TBSP dry)
      3 Tablespoons avocado oil, divided (or olive oil)
      2 pounds flank steak
      1 1/2 cups beef broth

      Combine lime juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, cumin, jalapenos, garlic cilantro, and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Place the meat in a large zip bag,  Pour the mixture into the bag and make sure the meat is coated on all sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  
      When ready to cook, set the Instant Pot to Saute.   Heat 1 tablespoon oil.  
      Remove the beef from the zip bag, preserving the leftover marinade.
      Sear meat 4-5 minutes on each side. 
      Add beef broth. Lock lid.  Turn vent to seal!
      Press the Meat button and set cook time to 15 minutes. When the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes then quick-release. 
      Remove the meat.  Shred or slice thinly to serve.  Serve as nachos or tacos or over Spanish Cauli-Rice (below).

      Spanish Cauli-Rice

      1 bag frozen riced cauliflower (or clean and chop a head of cauliflower)
      Leftover marinade from above recipe
      1 can Ro-tel tomatoes with green chiles

      Pour riced cauliflower into medium saucepan.  Stir in leftover marinade and can of Ro-Tel.  Cook over medium heat until jalapeños are tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).